Penguins 3, Islanders 2 (overtime)
Some news and notes, nuggets and quotes from the Penguins’ 3-2 overtime victory over the New York Islanders at Nassau Coliseum Tuesday night:
*** Sidney Crosby capped the Penguins’ comeback from a 2-0 deficit by scoring on a sensational individual effort at 3:44 of overtime. Crosby got the puck outside the New York blue line, then charged between the Islanders defensemen before throwing a backhander past goalie Anders Nilsson. “I can’t say that’s the first time I’ve seen him do that,” winger James Neal said. “His ability to stay with pucks and go by people is better than anybody I’ve ever seen. He’s the best in the league at getting on pucks and staying with it. He’s just an unbelievable player.”
*** Crosby scored two goals, allowing him to keep pace with teammate Evgeni Malkin in the NHL scoring race, because Malkin had two assists. Crosby has 38 points, Malkin 37.
*** The Penguins, who have won four in a row, are 4-1-1 in their past six away games. Their power play scored on two of five chances against New York and is 6-for-16 in the past half-dozen games on the road.
*** Goalie Marc-Andre Fleury gave up a suspect goal to Kyle Okposo midway through the first period, when Okposo beat him from the top of the right circle, but came through with a game-saving stop on Frans Nielsen on a penalty shot while New York was shorthanded at 6:53 of the third. “That’s a save I have to make,” Fleury said. Neal, though, pointed out that stopping Nielsen is no small feat. “That save wins us the game,” Neal said. “That’s an unbelievable save. Especially against a guy like Nielsen, who’s really good at shootouts. Probably one of the best on their team, if not the best.”
*** Fleury, on Okposo’s long-distance goal: “I just didn’t see it. It was in the clear, then he pump-faked and, I don’t know, somebody skated by, and … it went under my glove.”
*** The Coliseum crowd taunted Fleury, who was supplanted by Tomas Vokoun as the Penguins’ go-to goalie in last spring’s playoffs after giving up several bad goals to the Islanders, but he quieted them before the evening was over. “It feels good. A win’s a win, but after what happened here last year and the people getting on me a little bit, it was fun just to get the win and calm them down a little bit.” Fleury is 6-1-1 in his past eight regular-season starts on Long Island.
*** The Penguins overcame a sluggish start, as they made a number of conspicuous errors during the opening period. “It definitely wasn’t the start we wanted,” Crosby said. “But we stayed patient.”
*** The Penguins have won six of their past seven regular-season games against the Islanders.
*** All three games between the Penguins and Islanders this season have been decided by one goal.
*** The first of Crosby’s two goals was the 12,000th in franchise history.
*** Defenseman Robert Bortuzzo and forward Jayson Megna were the Penguins’ healthy scratches.